Mike and Sheryl are an ordinary couple who fancy some time to themselves in Lake Kimbrabrow State Park in West Virginia. They park their car up and head to the Ranger’s office for advice and directions. The Ranger there recommends two paths to take and advises them to respect the land, as the locals can sometimes be not too appreciative of hikers. They set off and quickly bump into Ida, who for this type of film seems pretty normal and she recommends the path to Timber Falls. Now, this isn’t the one of the two suggested by the Ranger, but they go that way anyway, it they didn’t, we would have a very short film.
After a brief period of ‘making out’, the couple are disturbed by some hunters. Since we’re in the backwoods, the hunters are a stereotypical bunch, having moonshine in their backpack and a yearning to hassle ‘city types’. Mike soon defends his girlfriend’s honour, and one of them meets with a butt of a rifle. Running off, Mike and Sheryl head for higher ground so that they can camp for the night. Heading towards their camp ground, they are advised by Ranger Clyde – who pops out of nowhere (very dodgy!) – to go to a secluded spot by the lake. Clyde seems a very helpful chap and he is soon on his way.
During the evening, a silhouette is seen outside their tent and the next morning Sheryl goes for an early morning swim. Mike hears a scream and soon discovers that Sheryl is missing….
‘Mad Man in the Woods’ and ‘In-Breds on the Rampage’ are not exactly new inspirations for horror movies. Though some of the worst films ever are in this genre, there are some bona fide classics as well such as several Friday the 13th films, The Burning, Wrong Turn 1 and 2 and The Hills Have Eyes. Where does Timber Falls fit then?
Having never heard of the film, I thought hearing the title we would either have a horror movie or some Twin Peaks rip off. Seeing a scythe on the DVD label, I soon worked out that we were seeing some form of slasher movie. Now to a point I was right: the film is a mixed-bag of horror genres, with the recent trend of ‘torture porn’ a predominant factor. However Timber Falls is just about a reasonably entertaining horror in spite of this, with a couple of moderately original twists and turns.
Director Tony Giglio certainly makes a departure from his previous film, CHAOS (with Jason Statham and Ryan Phillippe), and uses the American backwoods to his full advantage with good widescreen camera movement and beautiful scenery. However we are not watching a National Geographic programme but a horror film, and Giglio certainly can crank up the tension when he wants to. The gore is not excessive but used well, and the torture scenes are suitably unpleasant whilst not being gratuitous or outrageous. Brown and Randall aren’t bad as the two leads, but the film is stolen by chief villains Clyde and Ida, played by Nick Searcy and Beth Broderick. Clyde and Ida seem like a normal couple but harbour a horrible secret which – though predictable – is played out well.
Timber Falls is fairly entertaining, but forgettable. It does tick all the boxes for a low-budget horror movie – blood, nudity, likeable leads, great villains….but is just a bit empty, and this kind of movie we have all seen before. Nice ending though.
Quite a mixed bunch of special features for this film. Two commentaries, a ‘making of’ featurette, UK and US trailers, a TV spot and some nice stills and artwork. The ‘making of’ runs for 40 minutes and is a good example of how to do these. Good interviews and behind the scenes footage and not the usual EPK junk with everyone telling everyone how much they love them. That makes a nice change.